How to optimise the use of policy mechanisms and increase the viability of brownfield sites
Oct 22nd 2015
Brownfield Briefing has organised a conference on regeneration and brownfield development which will be held in Sheffield next month. The conference will be held on Thursday, 12th November and will explore a number of issues concerning brownfield development, such as the latest government policy on brownfield land; the practicalities of using Housing Zones and Local Development Orders to optimise brownfield development; how non-viable brownfield sites could be unlocked and accelerated through planning; and how the creation of new City Regions will accelerate regeneration.
The conference organisers explain the background to conference as the growing attention to brownfield sites, which has grown in order to deliver future housing and development needs whilst avoiding development on contentious greenfield land: “Additionally, the development of a Northern Powerhouse and achieving high levels of regeneration, including infrastructure, commercial and housing development outside of London and the South-East of England, will bring renewed focus onto former industrial sites, coalfields and other brownfield sites.”
There are, however, significant barriers to the redevelopment of brownfield sites: “Many formerly-used sites are considered non-viable by developers because of the high risks, costs and complexity associated with them. Complicated or unclear ownership makes land purchase difficult and then coupled with physical obstacles such as contamination and lack of infrastructure, mean that bringing brownfield land back into re-use is costly, complex and fraught with uncertainties.”
The conference will bring together a range of speakers from the Royal Town Planning Institute, the Planning Advisory Service, the Homes and Communities Agency, the Home Builders Federation, local authorities, consultancies and academia. The conference will be focused on how to optimise the use of funding and policy mechanisms to increase the viability of brownfield sites and successfully unlock challenging sites.
The programme for the day features ten sessions that encompass a wide range of issues impacting on brownfield development, including government policy, the role of local planning authorities, viability and risk analysis, funding and costs. The morning’s sessions are focused on policy and planning:
- The latest government policy on brownfield development and the mechanisms that will be used to support it, including brownfield land registers and the “planning permission in principle” for brownfield sites.
- How brownfield sites not currently seen as viable could be unlocked and accelerated through the planning process, including how the process from site investigation to remediation to redevelopment could be simplified and accelerated.
- The practicalities of implementing Local Development Orders to make brownfield land available for housing, including levels of detail and risk assessments.
- The use of Brownfield Housing Zones to optimise brownfield development and achieve housing targets, including the funding and incentives available to local authorities.
In the afternoon, the focus of the sessions shifts to regeneration and infrastructure, and the practicalities of costs and remediation:
- How the creation of new City Regions through the proposed Devolution Deals will accelerate regeneration and development.
- Reducing uncertainty in remediation to increase confidence in brownfield development, including better techniques to estimate the cost of remediation.
- The role of brownfield in housing and commercial development from a developer’s perspective.
- How developers, local authorities and other stakeholders can work together to maximise growth and increase delivery: A case study of the Castlefields Regeneration Partnership.
- Innovative Regeneration Funding: Accessing the mechanisms available to fund remediation and redevelopment and minimise the risks.
- How development in transport and infrastructure will be progressed and the implications of this for regeneration.
- Alternative uses for brownfield to unlock sites and maximise their potential, including the role of brownfield sites in developing sustainable cities.
Regeneration, Brownfield Development & City Regions will be held in Sheffield on Thursday, 12th November. For further information on the conference, see Brownfield Briefing.
Photograph: Derelict hardstanding, near Thorney Hill, Hampshire © Copyright Jim Champion and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence. The land was part of RAF Holmsley in the New Forest, which was operational during the Second World War.